This leaflet aims to answer some of the questions you may have about having a coronary angiogram. It explains the benefits, risks and alternatives to the procedure, as well as what to expect when you come to hospital. If you have any further questions or concerns, please speak to a doctor or nurse caring for you.
Please ensure you read this leaflet carefully.
What is a coronary angiogram?
A coronary angiogram allows a detailed view of the heart chambers and the heart arteries.
It enables identification of any sections within the heart arteries that are narrowed or blocked due to coronary artery disease.
It is carried out under X-ray guidance and takes about 30-40 minutes.
Sedation is not given routinely but is available if required / appropriate.
The Consultant will decide whether to access the coronary arteries via the wrist (radial) or the groin (femoral), a local anaesthetic is used to numb this area and prevent pain during the procedure.
A catheter (fine tube) is then inserted into either the wrist or groin.
Contrast dye, which is visible under X-ray, is injected into the catheter and X-ray pictures are taken as the dye enters and moves through the heart arteries.
What is coronary angioplasty?
Coronary angioplasty is a procedure to widen or re-open any identified narrow or blocked sections of the heart arteries. It usually involves the insertion of stents within the narrowed sections to hold them open.
You may be listed for a coronary angiogram with or without coronary angioplasty (often termed a ‘query proceed’) which means that if the coronary angiogram identifies narrowing or blockages within the arteries they may be widened / opened during the same procedure.
A needle (cannula) will be inserted into one of your veins, usually in the back of the hand or forearm to administer medications if required during the procedure. This will be removed before you leave the hospital and a small dressing applied.
After a coronary angiogram the doctor will usually inform you of the results at the end of the procedure and discuss the course of treatment (if any) that is required with you.
If your procedure is a ‘query proceed’ you will be informed at the end of the angiogram that you require angioplasty and the procedure will then continue.
A coronary angiogram will help your Consultant to decide on the best treatment option for you.
If your procedure is a ‘query proceed’ your condition will be treated in the same procedure.
The most common complication following the test is localised bruising in the groin or wrist area. This is usually nothing to worry about:
- Risk of heart attack / stroke / death 1:700
- Risk of bleed requiring transfusion / surgery 1:1000
- Palpitations / abnormal heart rhythm
- There is a small risk of an allergic reaction to the dye
- The figures quoted are average for all cases
All tests carry a risk, but your doctor would not recommend the test unless he felt that the benefits outweighed any risk.
Your doctor will discuss with you any specific risks that may relate to you and once you have been given all the relevant information – YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE FORMAL WRITTEN CONSENT FOR YOUR PROCEDURE.
If you have any concerns regarding the potential risks of this procedure then please discuss this on the day of your admission.
It can be helpful to some people to write down their questions, as it is common to forget them when in hospital.
Your cardiologist should have discussed alternative options with you prior to booking your procedure.
The following ‘pre procedure’ information is aimed at patients attending electively, if you are an inpatient the nursing staff will guide you through the pre procedure requirements but it is important that you continue to read this guide as there is further information that applies to you.
Prior to Admission
You can eat and drink as normal, prior to the procedure.
You will be in the unit for approximately 4-5 hours if your procedure is a coronary angiogram only.
Coronary angioplasty may require an overnight stay so please bring an overnight bag if your procedure is a ‘query proceed’.
Please bring ALL your medication with you. If you take any of the following medications please follow the instructions below.
Oral Anticoagulation Medication (Warfarin, Rivaroxaban, Apixaban and Dabigaptran):
- You may need to stop taking your oral anticoagulation medication prior to your admission. You will be advised at a pre-assessment appointment about this and about any replacement therapy if required
- If you do not receive a pre-assessment appointment please contact the hospital on the phone numbers at the end of this information booklet
Insulin and Diabetic Medication:
- Please bring your insulin and / or diabetes medication into the hospital with you
- Insulin and all diabetes medication including metformin may usually be taken as normal up to and including the morning of the procedure. If your Cardiologist requires you to stop taking it prior to the procedure you will be informed at pre-assessment
- PLEASE DO NOT TAKE TADALAFIL, SILDENAFIL (VIAGRA), AVANAFIL AND VARDENAFIL FOR AT LEAST 3 DAYS PRIOR TO YOUR PROCEDURE
- You should continue to take antiplatelet medications (aspirin, clopidogrel, ticagrelor) up to and including the day of your procedure unless you have been instructed otherwise
- Please do not take diuretic medication (water tablets) on the day of the procedure
- If you have any questions regarding your medications please contact the team on the numbers given at the end of this information booklet
Please complete the enclosed admission form and bring it into hospital on the day of admission.
What to bring into hospital with you:
- Nightwear / dressing gown and slippers
- Reading material / glasses
PLEASE LEAVE ALL VALUABLES AND MONEY (OTHER THAN SMALL CHANGE IF REQUIRED) AT HOME.
Unfortunately we do not allow visitors to stay in the department due to patient privacy.
Post (After) Procedure
INPATIENTS – Cardiology within the Trust is based over 2 main sites (Grimsby and Scunthorpe) YOUR PROCEDURE MAY REQUIRE TRANSFER FROM ONE HOSPITAL TO THE OTHER – transfer between the hospitals pre procedure will be arranged by the nursing staff via ambulance transfer as part of your ongoing treatment. You may be medically fit for discharge following your procedure. If this is the case it is your responsibility to make arrangements for your transport home. You will not be transferred back to the hospital you were originally an inpatient.
ELECTIVE PATIENTS – you are expected to make your own transport arrangements pre and post procedure – please contact ambulance transport if required
There is a risk, although very small, of significant (even life threatening) bleeding after the procedure:
It is important that you have made arrangements prior to your procedure day for someone to stay with you overnight in case you are discharged the same day. If you have not organized someone to stay with you or informed the department staff that you have no-one to do this prior to your procedure date your procedure may have to be cancelled as a bed for an overnight hospital stay cannot be guaranteed or organized at short notice.
Your escort MUST collect you from the department after your procedure.
You should go straight home on discharge and it is important that you rest completely for the rest of the day.
If you have sedation during the procedure, it is important that you DO NOT drive a vehicle, operate machinery, drink alcohol, or sign any legal documents for at least 24 hours.
You must NOT walk, drive home or travel alone on public transport such as a bus or train for 24 hours following the examination.
As a guide, it is recommended that you refrain from work for 2 -3 days (angiogram) and for 1 week (angioplasty) but this will be dependent on the nature of your work and the route of the procedure and you should discuss it with the medical team.
When can I go home?
After a coronary angiogram you will usually be allowed to go home 3-4 hours after the procedure, providing there are no complications.
After coronary angioplasty you may be discharged the same day or you may require an overnight stay. You should prepare for both. Inpatients are reminded of the transport information already explained.
You will be given both verbal and written information on discharge which will be fully explained to you prior to you leaving.
You will also be provided with a contact number should you have any questions after discharge.
Contact details for further information
If you have any queries regarding any of the information contained within this leaflet, or your admission date and time please contact the department where your procedure is booked.
Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, Grimsby on:
03033 306539 (Secretary)
03033 304741 (Coronary Care Unit)
Scunthorpe General Hospital on:
03033 306542 (Secretary)
03033 302327 (Planned Investigations Unit)
Information about you
We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.
We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.
Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.
If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.
Any comments, compliments, concerns or complaints
If you have any other concerns please talk to your nurse, therapist or doctor. Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is available on 03033 306518 (Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Goole). You can also contact nlg-tr.PALS@nhs.net
As a Trust we value equality of access to our information and services, therefore alternative formats are available on request at email@example.com
Date of issue: May 2022
Review period: May 2025